Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Westmeath Incident

asked the Minister for Justice if he will state whether the house and premises of Mr. Bernard Kelly, Mount Temple, Moate, County Westmeath have recently been raided by members of the Gardaí, and whether Mr. Kelly has been under close observation by the Gardaí, and if he will give reasons for this action on the part of the Gardaí.

The premises referred to were searched by members of the Garda Síochána under the authority of a search order under Section 24 of the Firearms Act, 1925.

Could the Minister give the House an assurance that Mr. Kelly's house was not searched because of his activities in connection with local land agitation?

As a matter of fact, the answer which I have given is quite clear. The search was made for the purpose of ascertaining if there were any unlicensed firearms on the premises.

Is it right for the Gardaí to be around Mr. Kelly's house at least three or four times a week in search of firearms and causing considerable inconvenience and disturbance to the wife and children of this decent man?

I have no evidence that that is true. As far as I am concerned, so long as the Guards act within their powers and duties they have my blessing in carrying out the duty for which they were appointed.

Is the Minister aware that at the moment there is serious land trouble in Mr. Kelly's area? Does the Minister connect the visit of the Gardaí with the land trouble?